One Track Mind: Alex Machacek, "Very Sad" (2011)

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Photo by Rich Murray

We’ve raved before about the thrilling pyrotechnic brilliance of Alex Machacek, one of the most exciting new voices in fusion guitar right now.

The Austrian illustrates, on the just-out Abstract Logix Live: The New Universe Music Festival 2010 project, that he can turn the fire down low, as well. Performing with bassist Neal Fountain and drummer Jeff Sipe, Machacek peels off layer after layer of his own towering virtuosity. What’s left are these strikingly denuded notes, raw and emotional. At times, Machacek is so contemplative that Fountain’s bass actually takes center stage.

Yet Machacek never edges into the pastoral blandness that sometimes wrecks efforts by Jim Hall or Jimmy Raney. Just when he seems to have completely receded into the woodwork, Machacek reasserts himself with a brawny, but never showy run of gumption — something that might best be described as densely packed balladry.

“Very Sad” was recorded on November 20-21 of last year at Raleigh, North Carolina for Abstract Logix Live: The New Universe Music Festival 2010. Also featured on the recording are John McLaughlin, Widespread Panic’s Jimmy Herring — who does a brilliant rendition of George Harrison’s “Within You, Without You” — Lenny White’s Anomaly and Human Element.

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